I’ll never forget my first Budget Planning Meeting following my transition to Executive Pastor. As a newcomer to the process I mostly observed, listened and tried to learn “how things are done here.”
My first surprise came when it was time to determine the new staff positions that would be funded in the coming year. What transpired was a lobbying for positions in the favored ministries of the various committee members. A preschool teacher made an impassioned plea for an assistant to the overextended Preschool Minister. A youth ministry worker voiced a well-reasoned case for adding a Girls Minister. And, three choir members lobbied for a full time Children’s Choir Coordinator. Guess which position was ultimately funded in the new budget? Of course, the choir members outnumbered everyone else and ruled the day.
I remember thinking, Oh, that’s how it works……..whoever has the most ministry leaders on the Budget Planning Committee in any given year is the ministry that receives additional staffing. I left that process feeling a bit disillusioned and convinced there had to be a more equitable, intentional, and strategic way to determine new staff positions.
The Multi-Year Staffing Model
The ultimate solution to the challenge was the development of what became known as the Multi-Year Staffing Model. Essentially, the Multi-Year Staffing Model is a compilation of all anticipated future staffing needs from the various ministries of the church. Typically, it projects out 1-5 years the positions each ministry may want to propose for consideration.
The process goes something like this:
Step One: Poll Each Ministry
Annually visit with representatives of each Ministry and hear their staffing needs and recommendations. This could involve church staff, lay leaders, committee leaders or some combination.
Step Two: Is the Position Growth or Strategic Related?
Ask questions to understand the rationale behind each request. Is it based on numerical growth or growth in the scale and scope of a ministry or operation of the church? Or, is it a strategic hire, one that will allow for the pursuit of new initiatives that will advance the church’s mission and vision? In some instances the rationale may be both growth and strategic related.
Step Three: Establish the Position Pay Grade
Determine whether this is a full or part time position and what an equitable starting compensation would include.
Step Four: Prioritize Each Position
Ask each ministry to prioritize their requests using an A, B, and C scale where A = Must Do; B = Should Do; C = Nice To Do. A Must Do is a position essential to the success and effectiveness of the ministry or function of the church. A Should Do is not essential in the coming year but most likely will become a Must Do at some point in the future. A Nice To Do will add value but should only be considered in the coming year if the Must Do and Nice to Do positions are funded. If a ministry has more than one position request in each category, ask that they list them in priority order, A 1,2,3 and B 1,2,3 etc.
Step Five: Determine the Positions to be Funded
In most churches the Senior Pastor and/or Executive Pastor are in the best position to make the final recommendation as they best understand the big picture and the potential trade-offs. Often the availability of funds will dictate that a part time rather than a full time position is funded. Or, funding a full time position requiring a lower compensation may be more reasonable in any given year. And, the phasing in of a position over several years or hiring mid-year is another option for getting a new position funded with less initial impact to the budget.
The Advantages of a Multi-Year Staffing Model
- It minimizes the potential for a powerful coalition to force through their pet position.
- It is more equitable by allowing all ministries to submit their staffing recommendations.
- It increases the likelihood of funding the correct positions by requiring documentation of priorities and rationale.
- It allows for the updating of the church’s staffing needs annually.
Click HERE for an example of a Multi-Year Staffing Model.
Posted on October 10, 2017